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Field Trip to Elkhorn Slough

Being a science writer is kind of like being an aunt. When you’re an aunt, you get to go on the strolls through the park, bounce the baby on your knee, and play peek-a-boo. But when that smile turns to a frown, the water works begin, and things get stinky, it’s time to hand off […]

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Ice plant Invasion

From Sonoma to San Diego, a dense spread of fleshy green leaves mats the California coastline. The pink and yellow blooms brighten grey beaches, and speckle sunny sands as frequently as people and gulls do. They’re pretty, pervasive – and alien. Ice plant, known to scientists as Carpobrotus edulis, is a succulent native to South […]

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human brain project

Richard Walker: Humanities and the Human Brain Project

Last year was a banner year for brain research, at least financially speaking. Europe and the United States both launched what could amount to billion-dollar brain studies over the next decade. But before Europe’s Human Brain Project got running, there were rumors that the European Commission had axed the project’s funding proposal in a final […]

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We’re Going on a Bear (Hair) Hunt

Europe has a long history of bear hunting, for meat, fur, bounty and sport. Hundreds of years of hunting had wiped out bears in most of the countries. Even today, tourists can still go on trophy hunts in parts of Eastern European. But it isn’t all bad news for bears. With better management, populations are […]

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<a href=”https://flic.kr/p/9UnRWS”>Albert G. | Flickr (CC BY 2.0)</a>

Measles Pop Quiz: Social Media Edition

Let’s try something new. I predicted that my story on a ‘Measles Outbreak Traced to a Fully Vaccinated Patient for First Time’ would generate a cloud of comments on Facebook (Science Magazine + ScienceNOW). Like a storm offshore, I saw it coming. So I posed extra questions to my sources that could cover the eventual […]

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A tar sands refinery. Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pembina/">the Pembina Institute</a>

Tar sands, explained

There’s been a lot of discussion in the last few years about the Keystone Pipeline, a network of pipelines being built to transport oil from Canada to the United States. President Obama has gotten hit from both sides: some have criticised him for slowing down a valuable source of energy for the U.S. Others have […]

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Photo by Gkumaran via Wikimedia Commons.

Shoo fly, don’t bother me…

The theme for my posts this quarter seems to be, “weird things that happened to Cynthia’s skin.” This time, it’s mosquito bites. I’ve had allergic reactions to mosquito bites ever since I can remember. My reactions range from small red splotches that itch for days to swollen white welts that itch for a week or […]

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Is ‘oil pulling’ the new mouthwash?

When I wake up in the morning, I stumble into my kitchen, plunge a spoon into a jar of solidified coconut oil and scoop it into my mouth. I soften the oil with my tongue and swish it around, pushing and pulling it between my teeth for exactly 20 minutes. After I spit the oil […]

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Climate Conference Cover Image

Climate change catch-up

Several dozen United States senators started the week without sleep—an all-nighter to draw the nation’s attention to climate change policy. They’re aiming for a bill to minimize its damage. Planning preventative policies is great, a handful of experts said at Climate Science and Policy through the Looking Glass, a conference at the University of California, […]

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